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Peacock‘s The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning and Marie Kondo may have different approaches to organization, but both methods have the same goal: to streamline and simplify life.

Design consultant Marie Kondo burst onto the cultural scene in 2019. First with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and then with Sparking Joy on Netflix. Both series aimed at decluttering the items that don’t “spark joy.” Along the same lines, Swedish Death Cleaning is also designed to declutter. But instead of sparking joy, the goal is to organize possessions before death.

Death Cleaning shares some of the same basics as Marie Kondo

The new series, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning follows three real-life death cleaners in their journey to help families and individuals sort out and streamline their lives.

“Death cleaning and any other method is, I suppose, similar in that the idea is to clean your home and get rid of the crap!” showrunner J.J. Duncan told Showbiz Cheat Sheet.

“I think the main difference is that we aren’t looking for what ‘sparks joy,’ in death cleaning – as much is what is useful in your home,” she added. “And what is something that may be a family story that you would like to feature or pass along to loved ones. Death cleaning is about living on purpose.”

Death Cleaning focuses on death, and Marie Kondo’s focus is joy

Psychologist and death cleaner Katarina Blom said this method is a one-of-a-kind approach to organization and living. “I don’t know of any other organizational methods that are centered around the concept of death,” she shared. “We are not playing around with this practice. It is by contemplating death that we can access our desire to live. And what should that single life of yours be about?”

Blom said that while U.S. viewers may find death cleaning to be a little morbid, death cleaning is very common in Sweden. “Death cleaning is ingrained in our culture,” she explained. “I death cleaned with my grandmother; my mother death cleaned with her mother. It is simply something we do. I even did some death cleaning during my summer vacation!”

Designer and death cleaner Johan Svenson said death cleaning is a way to show your loved ones you care. “Swedish Death Cleaning is not about being tidy, neat, or great at organizing,” he said. “It’s the journey of letting go and making healthy new choices. It’s about living authentically close to your own heart and caring less about what other people do or think. And most importantly it’s about taking responsibility and showing you care for the earth and the ones you leave behind.” 

Both organizational approaches are designed to make life better

Death cleaner Ella Engström said the importance of life comes through when looking at death through organization and cleaning. “It’s about the purpose behind what you own and how you tend to live. It’s a journey and ongoing process through life,” she shared.


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“Swedish Death Cleaning is both a method and philosophy to edit and rid the things in life that no longer serve a purpose to us,” Svenson said. “By doing this, we make sure to not burden our loved ones by dealing with a mess of possessions when we’re gone.”

Like the joyful Marie Kondo approach, the upside is life-affirming, Svenson said. “We learn to live in a more sustainable way,  find what really matters to us here and now, and in some cases free ourselves from the guilt that holding on to unnecessary stuff can do to us.” 

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning Season 1 is currently streaming on Peacock.